Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, will receive Steinhardt’s Music Business Program‘s Visionary Award. This award honors a notable business figure for making a lasting and positive impacton the music industry through innovative, effective, and creative business leadership. The award will be presented on Steinhardt Celebrates Miller and McCoy, 2011 Guggenheim Fellows Wednesday, May 4, 2011.Westergren created the Internet radio giant in January 2000 and now serves as the Company’s Chief Strategy Officer. More than 80 million people have registered to listen to Pandora on their computers, phones and consumer electronic devices. Their personalized radio stations make up more than half of all online radio listening.
A lifelong pianist with blues and jazz roots, Westergren received his B.A. from Stanford University, where he studied music theory and composition, but spent most of his time at the Center for Research in Musical Acoustics – a campus think tank focused on the integration of computers and music.
His passion for helping talented emerging artists led to his decision to found The Music Genome Project® (MGP). Designed to connect artists with listeners who are most likely to enjoy their music through a combination of technology and musicology, the MGP powers the personalization of Pandora radio. In addition to guiding Pandora’s overall strategy and vision, he now spends most of his time as Pandora’s chief evangelist, traveling the country to meet with listeners to ensure that Pandora stays in tune with its fast-growing audience.
Pandora is a genuinely unique music company. When digital radio was still finding its feet on the Web, Pandora built a pioneering application for the first iPhone. After a decade littered with the remains of a thousand start-ups, Pandora has proven itself that rarest of 21st century music enterprises: a tenacious survivor.
The Music Business Program in NYU’s Steinhardt School created the Visionary Award to celebrate its 30th anniversary. In April 2008, the award was presented to renowned music publisher Irwin Z. Robinson for his role in the careers of countless significant composers and lyricists, his service as a tireless advocate for music creators and the enduring principles of copyright, and for instituting important business innovations to ensure just compensation.
About Pandora: Pandora gives people music they love anytime, anywhere, through connected devices. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” – a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers Pandora’s personalization – using musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback to craft personalized stations from a growing collection of hundreds of thousands of recordings. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. turn on Pandora to hear music they love. Visit: www.pandora.com
About the NYU Steinhardt Music Business Program: Founded 35 years ago, the NYU Music Business Program prepares both graduate (MA) and undergraduate (BM) students to be leaders in the dynamic, global music marketplace of pop and commercial music. Academically rigorous and cross-disciplinary by definition, Music Business combines the boundless artistic resources of New York City with the cutting-edge inquiry and innovation offered by a major research university. The program is located in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions in NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. More information is available at steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/business